Money means (almost) nothing to me, therefore investment banking means nothing to me (seriously). Sports bore me, so I wasted chances to see all of NYC’s great teams. Musical theater never really did it for me.
What has mattered to me since I could read? Comic books. What have I done with all my saved-up allowances and leftover lunch money? Spent it on comics.
I moved to NYC and studied English at NYU so I could intern at Marvel Comics. They hired me on, which was great. But working as an intern, you pay to show up at the office. Essentially, I’m still paying student loans so my 21-year-old self could work there.
First off, I didn’t work with the offices that did Spider-Man, Avengers or X-Men. I worked for the Marvel Knights imprint, which made a name for itself by producing comics for more mature readers. Two of the editors came from one unknown comic book publisher, while another came from the goriest, ball-slappingest publisher that makes “Game of Thrones” look like “Paw Patrol.”
At the beginning, I wondered when they would ask me to start pitching ideas (Deadpool and Captain America’s replacement U.S. Agent team up!) or teach me how to find the best artists, but instead they handed me a stack of pristine Silver Age comics and told me, “Make some copies.”
I looked at the priceless art in my hands. They laughed and said, “They’re just comics. Millions of people have them. Your job is to make copies. You want to know why? Our guy needs to know why Spider-Man and Punisher don’t get along. You make copies of all of the Punisher and Spidey fights. Then we mail that crap to our guy.”
This happened all the time. They’d toss some Thor art to me: “Xerox it.” I’d get limited-edition hologram-covered Wolverine issues: “Take a Sharpie and circle every time he says ‘Bub.'” When I wasn’t defacing worldwide treasures, I was collecting swag. On new comic book day (Wednesday for you nonbelievers), editors received stuff from Marvel, DC and plenty of other places to read and study. Most editors gave their unwanted junk to their interns. My dorm filled with comics, novels, toys, shirts, artwork and tons of other stuff. Even though I paid tuition to work as an intern, I felt like a millionaire.
Interns also fixed copiers, grabbed coffee from around the corner and made deliveries. I even shadowed with the copy editor, who was the sweetest old gal. She said, “These stories would be great … if they took out all the pictures.” She didn’t know Professor X’s real name or why Hulk changed from gray to green. Her only job was to catch misspellings. What a weird job!
Since I couldn’t sell a can of gas and matches to a pyro, they kept me out of the advertising department.
The internship coordinator decided to keep me in editorial, which made me proud. Sooner or later, I’d meet Stan Lee, the members of KISS and all the other famous Marvel Comics creators. Right?
Stay tuned, true believers!